Reply To: SO insanely angry

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I understand this anger, I was only diagnosed with ADHD in my mid-40’s. I had traits all my life, but there just wasn’t an understanding of the condition and all the different ways it can manifest.

From my perspective a couple years down the road, I think it’s like the anger in the stages of grief – you know, denial, bargaining, anger, etc…

On the one hand, many of us have to grieve past mistreatment or losses (opportunities, relationships) that we could have avoided if we’d known. And the loss of years spent in struggle that didn’t have to be.

We also have to grieve the loss of our self-concept. Sometimes we have invested in an identity as a person who is just flaky, or eccentric, or “fun”, and shoved the difficult parts to the side. Or sometimes we have taken years of criticism to heart and have built an identity as broken, stupid, incompetent, less-than.

Either way, letting go of that identity is a loss. And replacing it with a more complex and realistic identity as a smart, capable person with a specific set of brain difficulties, is hard and time-consuming.

So feel the anger. Talk it out or write it out like you did here – that’s important! Let it motivate you and give you energy to seek help or appropriate treatments. Anger is a fantastic brain stimulant!

But don’t let it consume you. Be prepared to let it go when it’s served its purpose. Anger makes us feel powerful, so it can be addictive all by itself. But it’s not a “sustainable energy source.” It creates too much emotional “pollution” to rely on long-term.

FWIW, we all seek stimulation because that makes our brains feel right. But there are some kinds of stimulation that give us temporary focus at the price of mental peace (like OD’ing on caffeine). And others that bring focus and peace (like detoxing from electronics, learning meditation, sleeping more, and partnering with friends to work together.)

Look for the signs that you are ready to keep moving through grief stages. And look for a positive source of power. I know navigating the health system and finding the right treatment is hard, even when it’s available where you live. I wish you all the best.